Judge Stern Denies 3 Motions by CCFD Board of Directors

Motions regarding bookkeeping services, the sale of surplus equipment and contracting outside EMS services were heard during Friday's hearing.

Judge Brian P. Stern in Kent County Superior Court.
Judge Brian P. Stern in Kent County Superior Court.

During the Jan. 24 Central Coventry Fire District hearing in Kent County Court, Judge Brian Stern denied three motions submitted by the district's Board of Directors.

Prior to addressing the motions however, Judge Stern first heard a status report from board attorney David D’Agastino which included new payroll data, a summary of complaints filed with the state against the board, an update on labor relations with the firefighters' union and minimal new information with respect to the board's court-ordered contingency plan.

Click here to view Mr. D’Agastino's complete status report from Jan. 24.

Petition to Authorize the Issuance of RFP for EMS Services

The first motion submitted on the board's behalf requested court authorization to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) to obtain cost quotes for contracted Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Central Coventry.

According to the motion, board members intend to propose a contingency plan that would provide EMS to the district using a third party vendor, but must first determine the availability and financial feasibility of such services in the area. 

In his reasoning for denying the motion, Judge Stern stated that the RFP lacked critical items, including mention of an evaluation committee and criteria, service requirements and statistics regarding call volume within the district.

"The court finds as a matter of law that it is not going to approve an RFP to go out that doesn't meet those legal requirements," said Stern.

Petition to Allow Board to Engage Bookkeeping Services

In the board's second motion, the petition requested authorization to hire David P. Krekorian, CPA, to provide bookkeeping services to the fire district. Krekorian was hired previously by the board to assist in formulating a budget and tax rate last September, and if approved, would have employed his firm's bookkeeper to perform the services at $40 per hour.

In its motion, the board claims to require bookkeeping services to allow regular tracking and updating of the district's operational expenses, cash flow and debt, as well as to review existing payroll records for accrued vacation/sick time and establish a regular reporting practice with figures updated weekly and monthly.

Before denying the motion, Judge Stern argued that although the bookkeeping services would be marginally helpful from an organizational standpoint, the request defers progress that could be made on the more pressing issues the court charged board members with upon their election.

"I understand that the accountant would be putting some controls and other things in place per your petition…so Central Coventry Fire District, when it closes, may have the most beautiful books and records there are," Stern said wryly. "But what I haven't heard is how we get from the point where at now to the next stage." 

"I'll remind you that several months ago, the board's position was 'we need six months to put something in place'," Stern continued. "Now we're a few months into it and I'm not really hearing anything different other than the last petition to post an RFP."

Petition to Authorize Board to Sell Surplus Equipment at Auction

Judge Stern denied a third and final motion to sell off the district's unused, surplus and inoperable equipment at public auction, urging that a final ruling regarding a board-recommended liquidation must be made before any other actions are taken.

Before adjourning, he ordered a hearing to allow a final opportunity for parties to speak to the proposal of liquidating the fire district. All pleadings must be submitted to Judge Stern by Friday, Jan. 31 in order to be heard during the Feb. 5 hearing at 2 p.m. in Kent County Court.

Click here for additional coverage of Friday's hearing in Kent County Superior Court. 

harleyrider8272 January 28, 2014 at 03:02 PM
Guess that answers that question!!
Concerned Taxpayer January 28, 2014 at 05:29 PM
Did I just read that they want to pay someone $40 an hour for bookkeeping? Don't we currently pay people to keep the books? Where was that money coming from? More IOU's? More debt? I am also reading that they want the town to pay for their hydrants and street lights. I also drive through Warwick and West Warwick, should have to start paying a tax to them for their lighting bill as well? It's not fair for my neighbors in the other districts to start paying the bill for my lighting and hydrants because they drive through my district. I understand costs have to be controlled and I agree with all of that, but I am starting to have my doubts about this board and their competency. Imagine for a second the tax increase we would all have if the town took over paying for hydrants and street lights. This newly elected board seems to want to run this fire district like a fortune 500 company. We aren't looking for profits. We just want to stop the bleeding and get back on the road to financial stability.
Maloderous Rex January 28, 2014 at 05:47 PM
Fo' shiz, as the hood-rats say.
Kent Novak January 28, 2014 at 06:11 PM
At least the residents can count on the fire and ems service provided by the capable, professional fire & ems personnel of the CCFD. The actions of the CCFD board of directors is shameful.
Einstein January 29, 2014 at 05:30 PM
I witnessed an accident on Washingto St. yesterday afternoon (car vs. pole) and notified the CFD. They were there in a heartbeat. Good job, Guys.
John Brooks January 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM
When the RFP's come in, say hello to privatization!
Bill Overdeaux January 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Brooks ... !!! PAY ATTENTION to the Headline at the top of the page. Better yet you might have a part waiting for you in the "Walking Brain Dead" show.
John Brooks January 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Don't worry, that day is coming, just wait...


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